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Old 01-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #41
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

Two kids & a mini-van here. :-) Our other vehicle is a tiny Echo.

We LOVE the van and I can't imagine life without it now. 2x/wk I take other kiddos for playdates and it would be a hassle without the extra space. Also great for camping & luggage. When family comes to town we often had 4-5 adults + kids in the van and makes for great outings!

For road trips - if possible, we'd much prefer to take the Echo. It would save us about $100/trip for a 3hr road trip there & back - but, then our luggage space would be shrunk (so we don't do it often, but like that we have that option). Just something to think about.

ETA: Honda Odessey here (Toyota Echo as the other vehicle)

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Old 01-06-2013, 12:19 PM   #42
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

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Originally Posted by GirlFriday13th View Post
I'm going to be the sort of dissenting voice and say I have two kids and wouldn't drive a minivan. But I'm not super comfortable driving something that big. We got a Mazda 5 which has a third row, sliding doors and captains chairs but feels way more like you're driving a larger hatchback. We've been very happy with the amount of room for carpooling/visiting family, vacations and day to day travel. I can fit a britax blink in the back with the third row up and I managed to fit three adults, a ten year old and my two in carseats for a very overpacked beach trip (think multiple folding chairs, coolers and an umbrella). At some point we may get a rooftop carrier but it's not necessary right now.

All this is just to say, if you're not sure you need a full size minivan, it's worth considering.
I currently drive a Mazda5 and have two little ones. It suits our needs but doesn't have a ton of extra space. The third row is a tad cramped (if you install carseats in the middle row, those seats have to be pushed all the way back, leaving little legroom). Unfortunately our full size stroller doesn't fit in the back with the third row up. It does manage to get 4 adults and 2 kids with 2 carry ons to and from the airport (for that occasion, I moved my kids' carseats to the third row). It wouldn't be very comfortable for a long drive. I view the Mazda5 as extra cargo space or extra passenger space, but not really both. In its favor, the gas mileage is quite good.

That said, I'm expecting our third and while we can (and likely will for a little while) scrape by with the Mazda5, we are planning to upgrade to a minivan. I think many posters made an excellent point about taking extra passengers - such as your little ones' friends in the future. I have a friend who has three and often has her daughter's two friends with them which is impossible without a minivan.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:03 PM   #43
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

i mainly love a minivan cause of the sliding door option. i was always afraid of the kids opening their doors and smacking another persons car. we do use all the space now as there are 5 kids but I had s minivan w just 2 kids, went to a suv after while and rarely had enough space. glad we have the van again
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:12 PM   #44
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

Not too much space at all. I would love to have a mini van!
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:37 PM   #45
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

I got a minivan almost 4 years ago for 2 main reasons.
#1-DS was getting too tall (at almost 9) to sit behind DH in our Matrix. When I researched the Matrix it said a 6ft tall man could sit in the back seat with no problem. What it didn't say was 6ft tall man could sit in the front seat but a 5ft tall long-legged boy could not sit in the back at the same time.
#2 When we moved from NC to CA in July 2007, I did not expect the parking spots to be smaller. After having a Lexus SVU park so close to me I had to climb in through the passenger door and had DD climb through the trunk, I decided I needed a vehicle with sliding doors.

I also take road trips up to my friend's house in San Francisco and to the IL's in Seattle. We can fit all 4 of us plus our 2 dogs and 2 weeks worth of luggage for all of us.

Now that I am adding DC #3 in less than a month, it will be struggle because if all 5 of us are in the van, I lose my huge trunk space when DS sits in the back.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:00 PM   #46
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2 kids plus 2 friends=needs a minivan. .
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:11 PM   #47
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

We have two children and no plans for more. I love my Ody to pieces. Its the perfect size for our family.I insisted on and 8-seater, wanted 5 seats without the third row in use. MIL who doesn't drive live with us, and my dad no longer drives. My parents, sister, grandmother all live near us and go places with us several times a year. My BF has a son the same age as my girls and we are always going places together. It saves money and allows us to visit more when we ride together. On a day to day basis I keep the third row down for more cargo space, but even with it in use I have space for my single and double stroller along with a giant tote with extra clothes and diapers and shopping bags. Also sliding doors seriously rock with young kids.

We plan to drive this car for the next 8-10 years. I want to be able to give DD's friends a ride or have them tag along when we go places, especially when they are in elementary school. It's super helpful to have my sister, mom or MIL come along on daytrips. If we decide to have another I did NOT want to have to get another car just to have more space.When we go on vacation, its so great to be able to bring things like our kid's scooters.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:14 PM   #48
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Re: Family of 4 and a minivan-too much space?

I wouldn't do it. Yes, there are times a minivan would have come in handy, but for day to day driving, I am honestly ready to downsize. I have a Toyota Highlander w/ a 3rd row. The 3rd row is rarely up. With just DD and DS, I really do feel like it is too big and I need to go smaller and get something with better gas mileage. (I drive about 3K miles every 6 weeks and at only 20mpg, that means I spend A LOT on gas.) We do have 2 100 lb dogs, so I would need a wagon or a smaller SUV, but I do look forward to the day when my car dies and I can get a smaller one.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:20 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsviola
2 kids plus 2 friends=needs a minivan. .
Yes this.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:26 PM   #50
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We bought our van when we had two kids. Granted we knew we were planning on more, but I still loved all the space even with just two kids in it! Really you can't go wrong. Get one with stow and go and then you have all sorts of easy to arrange seating options.
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